The Difference Between Like and Would Like


Simon Baile

When you like something it means you always like it. Or usually.

When you would like something it means you want it (now).

Here are a few examples, so you’ll see what I mean.

1 I like dancing.

2 I’d like to go dancing tonight.

Sentence one means I like dancing in general. It doesn’t mean that I want to go dancing now. I’m writing this article, so I’m busy working. But tonight would be fun to go dancing. So I can say that I would like to go dancing.

Here’s another example:

3 Lenny likes chocolates.

4 He wouldn’t like chocolate for lunch.

Sentence 3 expresses that Lenny likes chocolate in general. He loves it. It’s his favourite sweets.

But it doesn’t mean that he wants to eat chocolate for lunch (sentence 4).

5 The Ramirez family likes trips.

6 They would like to go on a trip to Portugal.

7 They wouldn’t like to go on a trip to Spain, as they’ve been there three times already.

So sentence 5 means they like to go on trips in general.

Sentence 6 means they want to go on a trip now (to Portugal).

Sentence 7 means they don’t want to go to Spain.

You can also put like and would like in the same sentence of course.

Here are some examples of that:

Paul likes Ajax, but he wouldn’t travel to Amsterdam to see them play.

We liked our cruise to Alaska, but we wouldn’t like to live there.

Or just put like and don’t like and would like and wouldn’t like together in a sentence.

Here are some examples:

Jasmin likes classical music, but she doesn’t like Schubert.

Daphne likes shopping, but she doesn’t like to spend all her money.

Sumi would like to travel to Turkey, but he wouldn’t like to go by bus.

Just remember that like means like in general. And would like means want.


Now have a go at the quiz.

You can do this quiz online here and check your answers immediately. 

Choose a form of like or would like.

1 Sumi _______ drawing, but he ______________ drawing flowers. He finds that boring.

2 Suzanne __________ to take her son to the zoo, but she __________ to go every day.

3 We ________ to go on a trip to a warm country, but we ____________ to go in the rainy season.

4 Zelda _________ ballroom dancing, but she __________ dancing with Dan, who doesn’t know how to count the music.

5 Jeff __________ cooking, but he ___________ to cook the Christmas dinner all on his own.

6 They ___________ to go skiing on Saturday, but they __________ it if it snowed very hard.

7 Amanda __________ to speak to her dad, but her dad ____________ to hear from her past his bedtime.

8 Mr Weiss __________ to lose weight, but he __________ to cut his daily glass of wine from his diet.

9 Tanya ____________ animals, but she __________ like spiders.

10 I __________ your new hairstyle, but I ____________ to have a short bob myself.

3 thoughts on “The Difference Between Like and Would Like

  1. English with smile is a excellent tool for learning good english.i have been following it since many years and i improved my english language skills and confidence. I would like to say thanks to English with smile team,authors and its management.
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